Work Ethos / Ethic
FAH have been asked about how they come up with their sketches / writing ideas for their videos and live shows, There doesn’t seem to be a particular way that they generate their sketches, except that Hog explained when asked about this that their ideas come out of “messing, and now they’re a sketch with a beginning, middle and end.” An example of a sketch that came out of “messing” is the Net People, which FAH describe as one of their favorite to perform (RTE Culture 2018).
They’ve explained that with three people, coming up with a good idea is a layered process; one person thinks of something, bounces it off another person, and the third person adds something else. In describing their comedy work ethic, John Conway, in an interview for the University Times, observed that “all three of them would have contributed to each sketch, but the initial idea will have come from just one” (2017). Arms goes on to explain in the same interview that “if you take any show that we do . . . it’s nearly evenly split between the three people” (2017). In this same interview with Conway, Foil explains that an idea for a sketch or video “comes from misunderstandings . . . I could write a sketch and the other guys take it up a little wrong, and by happy accident something weird comes out of it. We find the best way to come up with new material is to try to make each other laugh and say ‘that’s pretty funny somebody else may like that.’” In a 2019 interview with Veronica Lee for Chortle, Foil stated that “Ideas get torn to shreds in the process and then we jump on to the idea and add more jokes and develop them. It sometimes takes months to nail a sketch.”
They’re consistent and diligent writers, which pays off in the long run when creating interesting and provocative material for the live shows and videos. In the RTE Culture interview from 2018 they were asked whether they could ever work a 9 – 5 job in an office. Foil responded that they all work 11 – 7pm every day on writing their sketches, and as Arms says they spend the rest of their time, “answering emails” so they’re in the office quite a bit.
They write a new show every year, which they debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; at the same time, they produce a brand-new video every week for their social media sites. During the coronavirus pandemic and a lockdown that began in Ireland at the end of March 2020, they have been unable to continue with their live shows but are still producing entirely new videos every week that they post on Thursday mornings at 8:00am (Irish time) to YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.
View of Their Own Comedy
FAH have been asked to discuss why they write what they do in their sketches, live shows, and videos. Their go to response is often that they prefer to not analyze what they do too much: “We just do whatever makes us laugh, that’s really the only rule” (Independent.ie, 2016). At the same time, they are clearly passionate about working on their comedy sketches, and honing their craft. Foil explained in the same interview in 2016, “We have worked very hard to get to this point . . . Handing out flyers in the rain for hours on end, squeezing out a video en route to the airport, doing everything we can to make people come and see our show.” Arms seconded this sentiment, saying “After that you need a lot of staying power, humility and the ability to learn from your mistakes.” This seems to be what all three of them can agree upon, as Hog explained, “You never stop learning things when it comes to comedy because it’s such an inexact science” (Independent.ie 2016).
They have made a name for themselves in comedy partly because they celebrate all things Irish; they write “sketches that are proudly and distinctly Irish” (Independent.ie 2016). They’ve been asked whether they have to change their Irish references for non-Irish audiences, but the consensus seems to be that they typically don’t have to do this a lot because their audiences either have seen their material before on the YouTube channel, or the way the three present their comedy makes it entirely accessible for non-Irish audiences.